By Marlee Moore
When Boyd Deal joined the Alabama Farmers Federation 17 years ago, he hoped to serve Wiregrass farmers well.
“I grew up on a farm,” Deal said in his new-hire press release. “I always knew being an area organization director would be a way I could give back to the farming community.”
Deal retired Nov. 30 after mentoring, encouraging and serving countless Area 8 farmers, community members and Federation colleagues. Area 8 includes Coffee, Covington, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston and Pike counties.
“We wear a lot of hats as field men. Everyone asked what I did for a living, and I’ve always said, “I really can’t tell you,’” Deal said with a laugh, though he acknowledged being part advocate, part coordinator and full-time friend.
Deal, who first joined the Alfa Companies as claims adjuster in 1985, built on relationships cultivated through Alfa in his role of field man. He and nine counterparts across the state delivered materials to service centers; helped surface legislative candidates; visited county leaders on the farm to build stronger relationships; and brought county concerns to the state level.
“We’re in the relationship business,” Deal said. “That’s what I enjoyed the most and will miss the most.”
Deal was raised in Zion Chapel and graduated from Troy University with a degree in business administration
, just months before joining Alfa. He married wife Leah in 1990; they have two sons, Bradley and Tyler; a daughter-in-law, Mackenzie; and two grandchildren, Buck and Remy.
Deal’s two decades as an adjuster paved the way for better connecting Alfa Insurance and Federation goals in Area 8. His understanding of the work ethic of Alfa sales specialists, then called customer sales representatives (CSRs), led to creating company-wide CSR of the Month and Year contests.
In addition to investing in strong relationships with county leaders, Deal and Leah made special efforts to encourage fellow staff, like Preston Roberts.
“Boyd was more than a coworker; he was and is a mentor,” said Roberts, the Federation’s agricultural legislation director who started his career as a field man. “He routinely checks in with me and my wife, Mandy. He encouraged me to really get to know my county leaders and gave guidance on the best ways to serve our people. But he also made me a better man, Christian, husband and father. Boyd changed my life, and I’m better for knowing him.”
In retirement, Deal will continue to impact others as a deacon at Ariton Baptist Church and through Second Chance Ministries, a nonprofit he founded to mentor youth with absent parents (Deal lost his father at age 10).
“Everyone wants to make a difference,” Deal said. “I hope I’ve been a good employee and a good friend and made a small difference in someone’s life.”